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MS Project Calendar Problem

Discussion in 'Business Applications' started by ksmorris, Jan 16, 2007.

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  1. ksmorris

    ksmorris Thread Starter

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    Hi folks,

    I'm using MS Project 2003, and I'm having a couple of difficulties with the relationship between the calendar view and the gantt chart:

    The calendar is placing some tasks on non-working days;

    MS Project 2003 seems to not have a facility for assigning recurring tasks to "business days only". This causes me to have to set a recurring task as close to the day in the month I think the task will fall each month and then go into each month and manually move the task to the 13th business day (or whatever is the actual requirement). It is so common for recurring deadlines to be on business days rather than calendar days, I am surprised that Project's "recurring tasks" dialogue box has only a "x day" of the month (rather than x business day of the month" option. Can one set recurring tasks in Project on the basis of business days?;

    When I set up my project in MS Project, I specified working days to run from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., however, when I view the project report it sees working days as running from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.. This suggests to me that, somehow, the gantt chart and task list are not wedded firmly to the calendar view. Can someone help?;

    MS Project is displaying some distinct tasks as separate tasks along the same Gantt Chart bar. For example, tasks, x, y, and z occur on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday every month, and they are displayed in the Gantt Chart on the same line of the same month running in direct sequence but segmented into distinct tasks (instead of being displayed as distinct tasks displayed on a Gantt line/bar immediately above or below each other. Can anyone explain why this is happening?


    Thanks :)
     
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  3. ddockstader

    ddockstader

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    Welcome to TSG - and to Microsoft Project, the software you love to hate.

    Some of your problems are simply limitations of a software package that was designed by people who probably never ran real large projects and part of it is because of the complexity of everything you have to do to set the system up so it works properly.

    First, you are correct that the software doesn't do "business days" in a month. In Bill Gates' defense (and I don't defend him often), it gets complex when you have a calendar that can be changed by the user. They would have to count the business days you have left after you edit the calendar and if you added in a holiday, it would mess things up all over again. So the best you can do is guess. But assuming you want the 13th business day, you know that there should be at least 4 weekend days and possibly as high as 6. So if you guess the 18th of the month, you will come pretty close most of the time.

    Second, if (as I suspect) it is your recurring tasks that are getting scheduled on non-working days, it might be because when you set up the recurring tasks, you missed selecting the appropriate calendar on the bottom of the recurring task. If you don't select the Standard Calendar, it assumes all days are fair game. If you do select it, it works fine. Let me know if that is your problem.

    Third, there is actually kind of 2 calendars you have to concern yourself with. First, under TOOLS > OPTIONS > CALENDAR you can set up the default start and stop time (make sure you click Set as Default before you leave). Then, there is the TOOLS > CHANGE WORKING TIME where you can set non-working days and the correct hours for all the working days. Realize that you have to select EACH AND EVERY working day and change the hours for them or the ones you don't select revert back to the default. It is a pain, but that is the way it works.

    Finally, I'm not sure I understand your problem with the x, y, and z tasks occurring on the same line on the Gantt chart. Are you saying they should occur on separate lines for each month in which they are performed? If so, don't enter them as recurring tasks but enter them as separate tasks for each month. In Project, recurring tasks always appear on the same line. I may be way off on this, so let me know if that is not your problem.

    Otherwise, good luck. It's an OK tool, just not a very flexible one.
     
  4. ksmorris

    ksmorris Thread Starter

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    Hey Ddock,

    Thanks for your input in response to my MS Project calendar woes. Youare probably correct that I may have forgot to make sure a task was still recognized as associated with the Standard calendar (even when I made changes such as abbreviated the task title or moving one occurrence of a recurring task to to a working day). MS Project may require the re-setting of all options. Wunderful, eh? arrg haha

    As regards my problem with distinct recurring tasks being represented on the gantt chart along the same gantt line/bar, this disturbs me because the software is apparently "sort of" seeing each of three tasks as distinct (because it sets them in the single gannt line/bar as an item), but it runs all three distinct tasks along the same gantt line/bar. They should be above or below each other. This tells me that MS Project is seeing these particular recurring tasks differently than it sees other recurring tasks, which it does assign distinct gantt lines/bars to.

    I am perlexed.
     
  5. ddockstader

    ddockstader

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    Could you attach a sample of the x, y, z thing? I would like to see this in action and maybe I can figure a way around it. That's what you do with Project. You have to figure out how to make it do what is should have done in the first place. Just a short sample would be sufficient. Thanks.
     
  6. ksmorris

    ksmorris Thread Starter

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    Hey ddock,

    I can't provide you with a copy of the file, however, if it helps to clarify, try to imagine three distinct tasks (i.e., different names and occurring on different days) each displayed along a single gantt bar/line as a contiguous series of tasks (i.e., three tasks boxes running concurrent in a row and touching each other end to end). As I understand MS Project, distinct tasks should be displayed on distinct gantt lines/bars

    I hope this clarifies.
     
  7. ddockstader

    ddockstader

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    Try as I might, I cannot get 3 (or even 2) distinct tasks to appear on the same line of the Gantt chart. I now have a couple questions.
    1. How did you enter the tasks into the project plan?
    2. Are they recurring tasks or just one-timers?
    3. Are they summary tasks (i.e. do they have a box with a plus sign in it next to the task name?
    4. Is there a summary task above them?
    This one is really strange and there is something here I am just not seeing. Sorry, but I would like to help you run this to ground.
     
  8. ksmorris

    ksmorris Thread Starter

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    Hey Ddock,

    I entered the tasks directly into a Gantt sheet, either as individual one-time tasks, or as recurring tasks. Because the team leader did not know all the tasks that would be included, nor could she provide me with thier relationship to one another, I could not set up tasks as Tasks and Subtasks. Hence every activity the department does is entered as a task. This has resulted in a heavy load of tasks. I believe MS-Project does not tolerate more than 23 tasks well? I'm thinking the Gantt line/bar problems may clear up when I can organize all of the tasks into Task and Subtasks?
     
  9. ddockstader

    ddockstader

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    I'm not too worried about the capacity of Project for tasks. The last project plan I ran had over 1800 tasks (about 3 1/2 MBytes) for the plan and we had absolutely no problems with it, unless you count the frustrating amount of time it took to open it every day. There were no sub-projects. It was all just one BIG plan. Most of my project plans run upwards of three or four hundred tasks with no difficulties. If you think that's a problem, wait until you get to resource leveling - or earned value, which is even MORE fun! I've always contended that Microsoft Project is more challenging than doing arithmetic in COBOL. Unless you're an old mainframe programmer, you probably won't understand that, but it's true.

    I guess if you are entering these tasks individually on the Gantt chart, my next question is, "What shows up in the task name cell opposite the composite line on the Gantt chart?" It would seem that the task names would have to overlay each other to keep the tasks on the same line. I really can't understand how they can all show up on the same Gantt bar.
     
  10. cav6770

    cav6770

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    I'd like to know what the the MS Project application's criteria is for displaying tasks in the Calendar View on a printout.

    In some cases only one task appears in the Calendar while the rest appear in the subsequent Overflow Page. In other cases many tasks appear in the Calendar instead of in the Overflow Page.

    Does the application allow the user to control what tasks appear in the Calendar and what appears in the Overflow Page?
     
  11. jimr381

    jimr381 Jim

    Joined:
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    Sorry I did not see this question before since I just started to TSG in June. Recurring tasks setup a main task with the name and each recurring date as individual subtasks is what ksmorris is asking about. Most people want to see them inline with the other tasks. I do not have MS Project loaded on this PC but see if you can cut and paste the tasks wherever you want to place them.

    Welcome to the Forum Cav
    I am not quite sure of your question. I do recommend you start a new thread though, because it might get some more exposure.
     
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